Friday, November 29, 2013
NASA's Comet ISON observing campaign blog which is being regularly updated by respected comet supremo Karl Battams. UPDATE: 05:30 UT ISON continues to brighten and a new dust tail appears to be swinging around from its transit path towards its outbound trajectory.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Comet Lovejoy is determined not to be outdone by Comet ISON. However, reports circulating through social media this morning that Comet ISON has now reached magnitude 4, will make sure it has more work to do - as if comets had opinions anyway. Comet Lovejoy continues to brighten and its ion and dust tails continue to grow. It's coma is a massive 3.7 arcmins now in a 180sec image, which is probably closer to 2 arcmins in reality as the movement probably overstates it a little. It is very hard to make a magnitude estimate now from CCD images. Magnitude estimates are now best made by binocular observations and comparing the brightness with the known brightness of nearby stars. Comet ISON is now a naked eye object. Lovejoy, I suspect is not far away either. The encroaching moonlight was not very kind to last night's attempt to capture a nice shot. Early this week Rolando Lingusti took a brilliant shot of Comet Lovejoy that was featured in Tony Flander's article in Sky and Telescope. Advanced Astro Imaging Conference on the Gold Coast. As a keynote speaker he outlined his search methods, which were, I have to say very comprehensive and methodical. Catching two brilliant Christmas Comets in three years is not a fluke, its through sheer hardwork and relentless persuit of what the Oort Cloud throws up each year. Image Credit: P.Lake 3 x 180sec R,G,B T11 iTelescope.net I found it a bit easier to observe the details in the tail in the individual subframes Luminance channel, which I didn't use in the R,G,B image as I ws getting too much light to manage with the intruding moonlight.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Comet Siding Spring continues on its merry way. Currently overshadowed a little by the 2012 comets, ISON, Lovejoy, Linear 2012 X1 and Enke all feature this month in the northern skies. Siding Spring will have to wait till next year for its fanfare as it does a very close approach to Mars just after the MAVEN space mission arrives to sample Mars atmosphere. None the less - Comet 2013 A1 (Siding Spring) is again high in the southern skies after midnight. These images are stacked in groups of 6 for the movement of the Comet to get a nice tight coma for astrometry. All the iTelescope.net scopes haev been very busy chasing the morning comets so I thought tonight after I collected my 2013 TV135 data for MPC, I'd jump onto T31 at Siding Spring and chase it's namesake comet. ENJOY!!!!
Monday, October 21, 2013
Tonight Astroswanny joins the ACCELN Live Google plus hangout on Space Education. ACCELN is a great network of teachers supporting other teachers innove in the classroom. More details: http://acceln.wikispaces.com/
Friday, October 18, 2013
UPDATE 2: 19/10/2013. Last night I got another 6 images of asteroid 2013 TV135. I have stacked them here at 1.4 arcsecs/m at Position Angle 210.3 allowing for the movement of the asteroid. This is a technique astronomers use to build the signal to noise ratio and derive a more precise position. iTelescope.net. I managed to grab 6 images and stack them. I was hoping for a few more but the roof closed due to weather . Discovered by G. Borisov & T. Kryachko of the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory Observatory, Nauchny, (095) on October 8th. Initially it is listed as a "Virtual Impactor" on Sentry JPL with a Rating of 1 on the Torino Scale. This is NOT that unusual for a new PHA, as at the time these measurements were taken there was only 8 days of arc available. It is expected that further observations will move this off the Torino Scale back to Rating 0 as the precision of the orbit improves over the next few days. makes the point on his blog (in Russian) that the current zone of uncertainty is about 1/5th of its orbit, so its way to early to be talking virtual impactors. Leonid's best estimate at this stage is an approach of about around 0.0077 AU which is close to about 1 Lunar Distance. The most interesting aspect of the orbit, in the discussions I have seen, is the inclination to the ecliptic of 6.8 degrees and that it tracks close to Earth for a couple of hours. Removing the uncertainty around this time period will be the task facing observatories over the next few days/months. Footnote: The 6 images here shown in the video had quite low signal to noise ratio which I improved a bit by stacking them in three pairs to improve the Signal to Noise ratio enough to get a good measure on them. This is partly due to the current full moon.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
+iTelescope.net on the 1st October, this is still way too close to the moon and had only just cleared the top of the shed. Another couple of nights and we should have some great images. I inverted this to try and manage some of the moon glare